Samford had a strong showing in the Southern Conference baseball awards after winning the SoCon regular season title. Head coach Tony David, pitcher Jacob Cravey, second baseman Jayden Davis and outfielder Lucas Steele each received awards.
The Southern Conference has one set of awards chosen by the media and another selected by the conference coaches. David was the coach of the year on both teams and Cravey was pitcher of the year on both teams. Davis was chosen as the SoCon Freshman of the Year by the media and the coaches selected Steele for that honor.
Cravey and Davis were chosen on the All-SoCon first team by the coaches and the media. Closer Ben Petschke and designated hitter John Anderson were chosen on the second team by the coaches. Anderson, the SoCon leader with 21 home runs, was also chosen by the media on the first team.
David, who spent 17 seasons as an assistant coach at Samford, is in his second season as the program’s head coach. He led his team to a 32-22 record this season. In two seasons, he is 60-51 overall.
Cravey tied for the conference lead with nine wins overall and was 7-0 in conference play. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound junior led the conference in strikeouts (114) and innings pitched (90.1). He had a 3.39 ERA with three complete games and opposing hitters .213 against him.
Davis, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound second baseman, ended the regular season with a school and SoCon record 37-game hitting streak still intact. Davis can build off that in the postseason. He led the team in batting average (.372), hits (73) and runs (45). He added 12 doubles, nine home runs and 37 RBI.
Steele hit .313 with 55 hits, 37 runs, 15 home runs and 47 RBI. He was second on the team in home runs and RBI.
Petschke being chosen on the second team by the coaches and not at all by the media was peculiar. By the numbers, he was the best closer – by far – in the conference. He had 13 saves overall, which was five more than the closest pitcher in that category and seven more than first-team selection Lucas Mahlstedt of Wofford. Petschke is tied for third in the country in saves and is just one save behind the co-leaders. He was 4-2 overall with a 4.26 ERA. He allowed just three home runs in 44.1 innings and opposing batters hit for a .180 batting average off him.
Samford earned a double bye in the SoCon Tournament after winning the regular season title. The Bulldogs open play in the tournament on Thursday morning at 8 a.m. CT in Greenville, South Carolina.
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